I can't get a good nozzle check on my new P400


#2

It’s highly unlikely that you have a clog. You have some air in the system. We have discussed this before:

As you will read, opinion varies about whether it’s safe to print purge patterns on these desktop printers in such circumstances, and I’ve read different opinions from IJM staff about this. But my experience is as I said in that post - head cleans seem to make matters worse if there is air stuck in there some where.


#1

The bottom line is that I have used almost a full bottle of PiezoFlush trying to get a good nozzle check on a new Epson P400 printer and I don’t know what to do next. Please advise.

I have a month-old Epson P400. It is my first printer and this is the first time I will be using piezography ink.

After setting up the printer I ran nozzle checks every few days with the Epson inks and always got perfect results. The last nozzle check with Epson inks was yesterday, and it was perfect.

Today I replaced my Epson cartridges with brand new IJM cartridges which I had filled with PiezoFlush following your directions. I ran three head cleaning cycles spaced ten minutes apart followed by a nozzle check. The Yellow channel had five dashes missing, so I ran additional cleaning cycles and nozzle checks. I was able to get the number of missing dashes on the yellow channel down to three:

but I can’t improve beyond that.

I used a LOT of PiezoFlush just getting to this point. In fact, the printer is giving me the “Time to Buy More Ink” popup! I’ve used up nearly a whole bottle of piezoFlush!

It’s hard to believe that the yellow channel is plugged because I was getting good nozzle checks with the Epson inks as late as yesterday.

I have a PiezoFlush kit and I would have used it. However the dummy cartridge does not fit the P400, so that’s not an option.

FYI, my reason for replacing the Epson carts with PiezoFlush carts was that I wanted to make sure the PiezoFlush carts were working (and primed if needed). Once this was done, I was going to replace the piezoFlush carts with piezography carts. I’m glad I did it this way because I would have wasted $400 worth of ink on all those cleanings and nozzle checks! I won’t install the piezography carts until the issue with the yellow channel is resolved.

What should I do next?


#4

I should have quit while I was ahead!!

Instead, I used the PiezoFlush Print Head Cleaning Kit a second time. I ran another nozzle check. This time there were MANY gaps. So I am back to square one.

Incidentally, I noticed that when I tap the yellow cartridge on a paper towel, it doesn’t leave a spot of piezoFlush like the other cartridges do. So I thought maybe there are air bubbles in the cartridge. I primed the cartridge a second time. I know the instructions say only one priming should be needed, but I did it anyway. The flush I drew out appeared to be mixed with air. I continued to draw it out until there were not more air bubbles.

I ran another nozzle check. This time, the yellow channel was almost completely white.

I am at my wits end. If there is someone within 100 miles of Tucson who can help me this, I’ll bring you my printer and gladly pay whatever you ask.


#3

Thanks for your reply. I think it may be air in the system, although the gaps are always in the same place.

In my original post, I claimed that the dummy cartridge in the small format flush kit does not fit the P400, but I tried it again and it DOES fit, although it doesn’t seat in a particularly satisfying way. I forced 1ml Piezoflush through it and ran another nozzle check. Now I’m down to just one gap in the yellow channel. Progress. Should I quit while I’m ahead? Or will that one gap wreak havoc with prints?

Thank you for the link. I wish I had known about the ability to clean individual channels using QTR before I wasted all that piezoflush.


#5

Might be a bad cartridge. Don’t know why it would have bubbles otherwise. There could be air in the head from the bubbles. For now top it off with PF and let it sit overnight. In the morning, do a nozzle check to see where you are starting. Then one clean cycle and another nozzle check. If it improves, then try printing the flush (aka purge) page for that channel via QTR calibration mode. IT MUST BE IN CALIBRATION MODE! Resize the flush image to a smallish size the first time, maybe 3x4 inches to see if it is working without using too much PF or running it dry. You should see it improve as it gets farther down the page. Then do another nozzle check and report back.

Or just be patient and wait for Walker to get caught up and offer advice.

Too bad this wasn’t last week - I was in Tucson visiting my parents. I grew up there and lived there for 40+ years.


#6

Thank you Keith. I will do exactly as you suggest. Maybe allowing the printer to rest overnight will help, given that I have been working on it nonstop for the last ten hours.

In the last nozzle check (the one where the yellow channel was nearly white), the Cyan also had developed gaps. This was the first time I had seen gaps anywhere but in the yellow. It could be that the head cleaning procedure (the one with the paper towel) made things worse.

I topped off the Yellow and Cyan and shut down the printer. I will post the results tomorrow. Thanks!


#7

The instructions are here: How To Flush Individual Channel using QTR Calibration Mode
and the download link for the flush images is right below the picture in the first post in case you haven’t found them yet.


#10

I agree with what Brain has stated. I have been running prints this evening and have been experiencing micro banding. I noticed that the IJM carts for the P400 do not seat properly. After a little DIY with some foam core I was able to place a pice of foam core on top of the upper half of the IJM carts making a semi snug, but not tight, fit when closing the cart carrier. This helped in seating the carts and now I do not have any vacuum loss. I am now running prints with no problems at all. I understand that this is not the ideal nor proper way of doing things but I have 75 prints that I need to get to my bookbinder by Friday. I am not saying to do this as it could damage the printer and/or carts. But if you are in a position such as I am it may be a fix for you.

Regards,
Chris


#9

Keith and Brian_S
I waited until morning, ran a nozzle check, did a head cleaning, and another nozzle check. The first nozzle check improved over the night before. The nozzle check after the head cleaning showed further improvement. But there are still a lot of gaps in yellow and (as I mentioned previously) cyan.

I had planned to do the individual channel flush but I must delay that because I am seeing my first ink warning lights go on. I need more PiezoFlush to continue this experiment . There, I just ordered the 700 ml economy size bottle.

Thanks to both of you for your help. I’ll post again when I’m able to print again.


#11

Chris,
When you say they “do not seat properly” do you mean that when you press down on a cart, it sinks a little bit? I also notice that with mine. They feel a bit spongy when I press down on the green arrow. Maybe they’re not making a airtight contact with the spike that sticks up from the print head, and air is getting in. See picture in link (the image won’t insert inline)


#34

I finally got around to trying Chris’s foam core hack.

Interesting result!! I got almost-perfect nozzle checks on Y and C - one gap and two gaps, respectively ! This is better than I have EVER gotten.

The middle six had always given perfect nozzle checks, but now there shakiness in the PK which doesn’t look like gaps, but maybe some kind of alignment issue.

I think this clearly indicates a problem in the fit between the carts and the printer. Walker, I understand it could be the printer, not the carts.

Anyway, this is as close as I’ve gotten to fixing the problem, although I doubt it’s a viable long-term solution.


#12

John,

That is exactly what was happening with my carts. Yes. The “spongy” feeling. The OEM epson carts seated nice and firm but not the IJM carts. And my magenta retaining clip also broke off while I was trying to remove it earlier this evening.

Like I said I found a temporary DIY work around for the issue. I just hope that it does not damage my printer. But if it does it does. I really don’t have much of a choice right now.

So if you do decide to go that route do so at your own risk. I guess that would be my “disclaimer” of sorts. For what it is worth anyway.

I hope you get up and running soon. Even with some of the headaches of the P400 I am overall happy with the printer.

Regards,
Chris


#8

And I was there the week before, but only as a tourist from far away. And WWIII may have broken out if I told my wife that i was going to help fix yet another printer, rather than communing with saguaro.

I think that’s a good idea. Having dealt with these issues many times, and advising others in your predicament, my advice is patience and purge patterns, and head cleans only when you really need one. In that respect I part company a little with Keith - my experience has been that it’s extremely rare to solve a problem like this with a head clean. I’ve typically found them as you have so far - they make matters worse.

Patience is a difficult virtue to practice at times like this - you just want to printer to work, darn it!! But air can be intransigent and often needs time to settle out. Head cleans generally don’t accelerate that process, they just consume ink / flush.


#14

John,

I hope everything works out for you. My printer is barely a week old and I have run a good 80 prints, 8.5 x 11, through it plus several proofs. Like I said overall I am happy with the printer though.

Hopefully Walker will see this post and offer some assistance or work around/through with these IJM P400 chips.

Let me know how everything works out for you.

Best regards,
Chris


#13

The retaining clips on my IJM carts don’t snap into place without a lot of pressure. And when they do finally snap in, you wonder if they’ll pop out because so little of the clip underlaps the rim of the box - maybe 1/64 of an inch. The Epson cartridge snapped in with a definitive “click” and the clip looked like it held the cartridge very securely in place.

Mine is a new printer. I have only printed nozzle checks so far. The nozzle checks have gaps in the Yellow and Cyan. These are the carts on the ends. Coincidence? The gaps move from one nozzle check to another (i.e., they’re not always in the same position), which according to Brian_S is a symptom of air getting in, rather than a clog. In fact they move radically from one check to another.

I’ll will try your foam core idea and post whether it helps. Thanks for the suggestion!


#15

John,

Make sure if you do this not to cover the cart vent holes!

Chris


#17

Hey everyone. You have to depress the spring-loaded lock (pinch it back) before putting the cartridge in. After the cartridge is in all the way, let go and the cartridge will be locked under the cartridge lock bar.

Forcing these cartridges in and out of the printer without re-tracting the spring loaded tab lock can damage the cartridge and/or lead to all the problems listed in this thread.

best,
Walker


#16

I will be sure not to, thanks!


#18

Hi Walker,
I always pinch the spring-loaded lock when I insert a cartridge. But additional downward pressure is needed for the tongue of the lock to engage the cartridge lock bar, and it only engages the bar by a hairbreadth! The tolerances of the locking mechanism are too tight. I’m an engineer who has worked around mechanical equipment my entire career and I know this is not the way a locking mechanism should feel. Epson cartridges snap in without additional downward pressure, give a distinctive “click” and gave me perfect nozzle checks every time!

I’m going to keep trying. I ordered a 700ml bottle of PiezoFlush. I’ll be patient and do purge patterns as Keith Schreiber and others have suggested. If I can’t solve the problem, I’ll put my P400 up for sale and buy a printer with more of a track record. I almost bought a 1430, but was convinced I should go for the P400 because it’s the latest and greatest. It is nifty printer, but IMHO the IJM cartridges need refinement.


#20

I respectfully disagree. The photo below shows the last 2 weeks of R&D P400 cartridges. I use about 1 set per week (I have used now well over 300 or 400 of these cartridges). I haven’t had lock issues, clog issues, or any other issues really beside accidentally tipping the carts over and then contaminating the air inlet filter with ink on occasion (usually after I’m done with a cart and it’s outside of the printer. You can see the ones that have black in the air inlet area.)

The “give” (or slow push-back is the way I like to think of it) that you are feeling is the inlet spike and ball spring. It’s a very heavy spring. It’s designed that way to enable you to prime the cartridge if need-be (something previous small format cartridges did not allow one to do).

I have not had a single cartridge break, come apart, etc, on putting it in or out of a printer. I’ve had one customer with a leaking cartridge of the thousands that we have sold and we were able to replace that cartridge promptly. I had another customer who had clog issues on an R2000 with similar carts but with hundreds of emails back and forth I came to the determination that it was a printer fluke.

I think what you need is a few spare cartridges. Fill them gentle, then rip the air tabs, wrap and tap, settle, put in printer, run a few cleanings (3 generally gets the new ink through the head) and you should be good.

-Walker